Seasonale is an extended-cycle birth control pill, which allows women to only have one period every three months. It comes in tablet form and must be taken at the same time every day. Possible side effects can include nausea, vomiting, and headaches. Before taking this medication, talk to your healthcare provider about any existing health conditions you have and any other medicines you are taking.
What Is Seasonale?
Seasonale® (levonorgestrel/ethinyl estradiol) is an oral contraceptive (birth control pill). It was the first "extended-cycle" oral contraceptive -- the first birth control pill designed to let women have less frequent menstrual periods. With Seasonale, you will get your period once every three months (only four times a year).
Seasonale is manufactured by Duramed Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Generic versions are made by various manufacturers (see Generic Seasonale for more information).
How Does It Work?
Seasonale is a combined oral contraceptive, a birth control pill that contains both an estrogen (ethinyl estradiol) and a progestin (levonorgestrel). It works to prevent pregnancy primarily by stopping ovulation (the maturation and release of eggs from the ovaries). However, it also works to prevent pregnancy in two other, minor ways. Seasonale alters the cervical mucus (the fluid of the cervix, which is the lower, narrow part of the uterus that is connected to the vagina), making it more difficult for sperm to enter the uterus. Seasonale also alters the lining of the uterus (called the endometrium), making it less receptive to an embryo.
There is no reason women need to have a monthly period while taking birth control pills. In fact, the "period" you experience while taking birth control pills isn't really a period at all. Because ovulation does not occur, the body does not prepare for a possible pregnancy by building up the lining of the uterus, so there is no need to shed the lining, as with a regular period. Instead, the "period" that occurs due to birth control pills is actually caused by a withdrawal of the hormones in the pills, which causes bleeding.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed June 7, 2013.
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